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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Acts 12 - a different Easter Sermon. Christ in you, the hope of Glory

Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

This is an Easter Sermon recast as a Bible Study. Do have a go at it. There are amazing similarities between Jesus and Peter as well as differences.

The differences are explained by the fact that Peter is not the Christ and Jesus is, also most of the events in Jesus' life take place before Pentecost.

The similarities are explained by the fact that Peter is a member of the Body of Christ and the Acts 12 events take place after Pentecost.

I pray that you will be challenged and encouraged by this study.

Acts 12 – Christ in you, the hope of Glory.

1.  Colossians 1: 24 – 27. Who is suffering?

2. What is his hope?

3. Back to Acts 12.

Acts 12

The Gospel Story
Death of James (brother of John) at the hands of Herod Agrippa I

Matthew 14:1
Peter arrested during days of Unleavened Bread.

Matthew 26:17 ff.
Intending to bring Peter out after the Passover.
Note the difference in timing.

Matthew 27:15 - 23
Four squads (of four men) to arrest one man.

Matthew 26:55
Peter between two guards.

Matthew 27:38
Church prays for Peter.

Matthew 26:40 ff.
Sentries at the door.

Matthew 27:62 - 66
Angel of the Lord and a bright light.

Matthew 28:2 -3
Peter goes to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark

Matthew 28:1
Rhoda recognises Peter’s voice.

John 20:16

She does not open the door. Peter keeps knocking.

Revelation 3:20
You are mad – to Rhoda

Luke 24:11

It is his angel.

Luke 24: 36 - 37
Peter instructs them to tell the others. Which James is Peter referring to?

Matthew 28:10
Peter departs to another place.

John 20:17;  Acts 1:9;  John 16:5 - 7
How long from Peter’s arrest to his release?

How long from Jesus’ arrest to His Resurrection?
Death of guards.
Matthew 28:11 -15

Herod Agrippa I  acclaimed as a god.

Revelation 13:8
Death of Herod Agrippa I

Revelation 19:20
Herod’s plan failed. Acts 12:24

Revelation 21 - 22

4. The similarities and the differences are all instructive. Discussion question – What can we learn from these similarities and differences?

5. There are three Powers at work in Acts 12.           

The Power of Prayer
The Power of the Cross – which is implied by the timing and also the Prison. There is an allegorical interpretation which sees the Prison as sin entrapping the soul. Can you think of a hymn which takes a similar line?
The Power of the Resurrection – Romans 8:11; Who is the Power here?

6. See also Acts 5:30 and John 2:19. Who raises Jesus in these verses?

7. What does this tell us about the nature of God?

8. What does this tell us about Peter’s relationship with God? Is it just Jesus?

9. What does all this tell us about God’s plan for our lives?

10. Can you think of any instances where this pattern or some of it has taken place in your life or of someone you know?

Testify. Discuss.    
                                                                                          © G.I.G 15.04. 2015
Additional notes.

A.  Rhoda means rose.
B. Bernice/Berenice was Agrippa’s twin sister. She acted as Queen. Gossip, repeated by the contemporary historian Josephus but not by the Bible, has acting as Agrippa’s Queen in all respects.
C. Luke, the author of Acts and inspired by the Holy Spirit, has a very understated and dry humour, quite English in many ways. In Acts 12:18 we see an example of this understatement.
D. The Herod dynasty is confusing. Below is a simplified version. The complex version carries an adult rating.

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